Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clearing the land

The land came with an area cleared for a house and septic system, but we decided to move the location of the house, so we have had to do some additional land clearing. We have been working on this over the past few weeks.

Dean on chainsaw duty.

Look out for this chainsaw Ninja!

Me, I prefer a hatchet.

While our project foreman prefers to sleep on the job!

We spent all of last weekend in 90 degree temperatures with a rented chipper-shredder turning the slash from the trees we took down into piles of wood chips.

And here we all take a lunch break...

Later, Dean and Pumpy cooled off in the brook.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Septic, septic, septic

OK - I know it's been all septic, all the time, but that is where we are at. Once we get through with all this septic crap (pun intended), I will post some fun stuff - like foundations, and windows and house plans.

So, the variance turns out to be not as bad as we thought - just some extra hoops to jump through. Our septic design is for a Presby system which is an accepted alternative system, but not the standard, so has some additional steps to be approved.

We had to get the Conservation Commision to sign off on the plan > Dean attended the meeting on Monday night and got the sign off. The commission declined to do a site visit since they are familiar with the property from the previous owner.

Next, all of the abutters have to be notified by certified mail and invited to attend a hearing at a Board of Health meeting. Dean will be attending the BOH meeting this Monday to request the hearing, and if that goes well, we will have a hearing on Sept 14th.

If approved, we will have a permit on the 15th > Our engineers have given us a verbal promise to stake the site that same day...

Our understanding is that once we have that danged septic permit we can apply for a building permit and start actually BUILDING!

In the meantime, we have been doing some land clearing, and trying to finalize a house plan. More on this coming up in a future post...

Nice cliff-hanger ending, huh?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Snafus galore!

Our septic engineers have let us down big time! Several developments this past week - none of them moving us forward on the project - rather quite a few steps backwards...

1. We had been told by the engineering firm that the design would take 2 weeks to be completed - it took three. OK, not so bad.

2. The septic plan has been sitting on a desk in the Board of Health office for over a week with no one reviewing it. Dean just happened to bump into Rick who casually mentioned that he had not received it yet - WHAT??! Turns out the engineer did not know that it had to be submitted with a fee, and that it would not be looked at until the $$ was submitted. He told us that because it was a re-vision, we would not have to pay... Well, that makes no sense, because everything has a fee.

3. The septic design contains a variance. We have just learned that the likelihood of the town approving a design with a variance is about 0%. And that a variance requires notifying all abbutters, and attending some meetings, etc... A process that would likely take 2 months and no guarantee of approval... Do you think it is reasonable for a septic engineer who works in this area to know this kind of thing and inform the client about the options?

4. Apparently there are a few other steps to the process of getting a permit that we were not aware of. Like having the Conservation Commission do a site walk to check if there are any wetlands issues. And documentation from the tax assessor stating that there are no back taxes is also a requirement for a septic permit.

Lessons learned? Ask very clearly - "What are all the steps required for _____?" And for every decision - "What are the pros/cons of This vs That?"

This is a very steep learning curve that we are on ...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More about our brook

Our brook has a name - it is Locke Brook, and it is part of the Nashua River watershed. It is one of several brooks that empty into the Squannacook River - my favorite river in the world! - you can read more about my sentiments on the Squannacook River at my other blog here...
The Squannacook empties into The Nashua River which all ends up in the Wachusett Resevoir

Brookside at Locke Brook

Pumpy loves to browse around in the cool water. I think we will be joining her soon on one of these hot days!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Special Delivery

We are now the adoptive parents of a bouncing baby backhoe!

She arrived yesterday. After Dean fixes a couple of oil leaks, she will be put to work clearing the land and digging trenches...